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The Problem with Muscatine's Air
Muscatine Rankings
Muscatine has the poorest air quality in Iowa, according to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), which are air pollution limits set by the Environmental Protection Agency to protect public health.
In 2011, no city in Iowa exceeded air quality standards except Muscatine. Muscatine exceeded the NAAQS 39 times, twice for particle matter pollution (PM 2.5) and 37 times for sulfur dioxide, SO2. Each exceedance has the potential to induce acute health episodes.
From January to April 2 of 2012, Muscatine exceeded the NAAQA 21 times, 20 times for SO2 and 1 time for PM 2.5.
Muscatine County ranks 24th in the nation for short-term (24 hour) PARTICLE MATTER 2.5 (PM 2.5) pollution in 2011, according to the American Lung Association.
Muscatine County reports more toxic releases of hazardous air pollutants (HAPS) from the chemical industry than 87 percent of counties nationwide.
Grain Processing Corporation emits more LEAD than any other company in Iowa.
Grain Processing Corporation is one of the largest emitters of ACETALDEHYDE in the United States.
Muscatine County School Rankings
Schools nationwide have been ranked by the amount of toxins outside of each facility. The majority of schools in Muscatine have more toxins at their school than 90% of schools in the United States.
1st Percentile - Bad         100th Percentile = Good
   5th Percentile = Washington Elementary School (This means that 95% of schools in the United                              states have fewer toxins than Washington Elementary School).
   6th Percentile = Wilton Elementary School, Madison Elementary School
   7th Percentile = Jefferson Elementary School, Central Middle School
   8th Percentile = Garfield Elementary School, McKinley Elementary School, Franklin Elementary                              School Wilton Jr - Sr High School
   10th Percentile = Muscatine High School, Bishop Hayes Catholic School, Colorado Elementary                               School
   14th Percentile = Grant Elementary School, Mulberry Elementary School, Adventist Christian School
   15th Percentile = West Middle School
Pollutants
Particle Matter 2.5 (PM 2.5)
   Source: Coal Combustion and Industrial Processes
    Harm: Lung and Heart Function
Sulfur Dioxide (SO2)
   Source: Coal Combustion and Industrial Processes
    Harm: Respiratory System
Lead (Pb)
    Source: Industrial Processes
    Harm: Nervous System, Kidney Function, Reproductive System, Cardiovascular System, and Immune               System
ACETALDEHYDE
    Source: Grain Processing
    Harm: Dizziness, Respiratory Tract Irritation, Central Nervous System Depression, Convulsions, Death
Why Poor Air Quality Harms Economic Development
Continually exceeding the NAAQS will lead to the classification of non-attanment, or not attaining NAAQS.
Non-Attainment is a red flag to business developers. This classification makes Muscatine an unattractive place for new businesses to locate because of the additional cost of air quality modeling that is necessary when moving to a non-attainment area.
Muscatine has teetered on the upper edge of allowable pollutant limits and non-attainment for more than 20 years.
Sources
http://content.usatoday.com/news/nation/environment/smokestack/index.html
http://www.iowadnr.gov/Environment/Air Quality/CommonAir Pollutants.aspx
http://www.iowadnr.gov/InsideDNR/Regulatory Air/MonitoringAmbientAir.aspx
http://www.lung.org/about-us/publications/
http://www.iwatchnews.org/2011/11/30/7525/despite-lone-inspector-s-efforts-persistent-haze-en-velops-iowa-town
EPA, TRI Explorer, Geography US County Report for Hazadous Air Pollutants from NAICS 325 - Chemicals;
EPA, TRI Explorer, Geograpy US State Report for Hazardous Air Pollutants.